We had the good fortune of connecting with Julian Wright and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Julian, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Work life balance is important but for me it doesn’t usually come on a daily, weekly or many times even a monthly basis. I tend to push really hard when it’s time to do so. For instances the three months leading up to a restaurant opening and the three to six months following an opening. Usually by then our teams have a firm grip on the reigns and I can back off, thus allowing me time to recuperate, wind down, and get some travel in. I don’t have an immediate family so my frantic work pace only really affects me but I love what I do (most of the time) so it doesn’t really feel like “work”. It’s somewhere between labor and art. I gravitate towards the creative side of the business which I really enjoy. This initially starts with the creation of a concept on a macro level but also includes putting together playlists and the lighting on a micro level.

What should our readers know about your business?
My company, Fork & Dagger Hospitality, creates and manages restaurants, bars and breweries in Arizona. We’ve been in business since 2000 and have created and operated 15 locations. I think in part what makes me successful is that I have a pretty good sense of when somethings working or not working and I’m not afraid to tweak or change things if need be. I sometimes think of my concepts as a clump of clay that needs constant molding until it becomes its own living, breathing piece of art. Sometimes I just smash the clay and start over. I also really enjoy the human element of my profession. I love meeting new people and seeing them enjoying our product. I think that’s pretty important in my line of work. I would also say I’m pretty resilient. I’ve had failures but I’ve always dusted myself off and kept pursuing my passion for the restaurant business.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well for starters I’d take them to my brewery in Tempe called Pedal Haus Brewery. I genuinely love hanging out there and sharing the experience with friends. I’m very proud of the place and our beer is damn good (so are our margaritas.) I’d also want to show off the desert vibe we have here. This could come in the form of a hike or a drive to Saguaro Lake. If we had time, I’d also take them to Bisbee, AZ on the southern side of the state and Flagstaff on the northern side. It always amazes people how the Arizona landscape changes so much over a couple hour’s drive. If we’re going north it’s always fun to stop in Jerome, Cottonwood and Sedona on the way. I also love to camping but haven’t been in a while. Note to self: go camping soon. As for dining around the Valley, I have a couple go to places but as a restaurateur I like to experience new places to get inspired and to share the love with the AZ restaurant community.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My ShoutOut goes to the many people that have worked for me over the years. They’ve made my work a lot of fun, challenging and rewarding which is why I keep doing it.

Website: forkanddagger.com
Instagram: @pedalhausbrewery, @sakehaus

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